This problem of my desktop flickering or refreshing about every 2 seconds started occurring today on my desktop machine after a reboot. Microsoft has a page describing the issue here: https://support.microsoft.com/en-nz/help/12374/windows-10-troubleshoot-screen-flickering

The computer is almost completely unusable while the problem is occurring; no apps can be opened, and the Start menu won't open. Right clicking the system tray opens a context menu sometimes but closes again almost instantly when the screen flickers next.

According to the diagnosis process provided in the above link, in my case the problem wasn't caused by display drivers because I was able to open the Task Manager with ctrl-alt-del and the Task Manager window didn't flicker like the rest of the desktop did.

Apparently this means an application is incompatible with Windows 10. This is a bit weird really because I've been using Windows 10 for months with no problem, and haven't installed any new apps recently.

Microsoft suggests removing 3 particular apps that are incompatible, however that wasn't possible as I couldn't get into the Settings window to uninstall anything, let alone check which applications were even installed.


I was able to hit ctrl-alt-delete and choose the Power symbol from the bottom right corner of the screen, then restart the computer while holding the shift key down, at which point a troubleshooting option became available which gave the option for me do a system restore. Apparently a Critical Update was installed within the last 36hrs, so it's likely that was the cause of the problem.

After a system restore, the flickering stopped and I was able to get into Settings > Apps and Features where I discovered that I did have the IDT Audio app installed, which is apparently incompatible. I don't know where that came from; perhaps it was on the machine when purchased from HP?

I don't know whether Windows will automatically reinstall the problematic update, and if so when it will do it, but I've uninstalled IDT Audio now so hopefully the problem won't recur.

I've shared my solution here in case it helps others :-)

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